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My father’s father (my grandfather) was Edward Charles Phillips, born December 29, 1849 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His parents were Edward and Hanna Simmons Phillips. Their fifth child of 15 children, Grandfather Phillips’s father was a farmer. He grew up doing the regular chores and work of farming, attended school and went with his family to their church activities. My father’s mother (my grandmother) was Selena Layton Phillips, born August 15, 1857 in Carson City, Nevada. Her parents were Christopher and Caroline Cooper Layton.  She was the first born of Caroline’s 11 children. Grandmother Phillips’s illustrious father, Christopher Layton, was a soldier in the Mormon Battalion, farmer, rancher, lumberman, and an entrepreneur in other enterprises as sole owner, as a partner with his sons and other men. He is counted as one of the most financially successful of all the Mormon pioneers. In addition, under the direction of Brigham Young, he became a renowned colonizer of Mormon communities in Utah, Nevada and Arizona. (See the book, CHRISTOPHER LAYTON, by the Christopher Layton Family Organization, 1966, Publishers Press, for extensive history of him and his progeny.) 


Steady and faithful in his sacred obligations in the Church, the prophet, Brigham Young, called him to direct enterprises for the Church and to occupy high, responsible positions in it throughout his life. During the family reunion March 8, 1898, Christopher, Grandmother’s father, appointed his daughter, my Grandmother Selena, secretary of the Layton Family Organization and of his biography writing committee. In reality, in the world of women, she was probably no less illustrious than her father, and the primary driving force that brought about the compilation and publication of the marvelous Christopher Layton book.


At three years of age Selina Layton moved with her family from Carson City (where Brigham Young had sent her father to colonize the area) back to Salt Lake City, where she spent the rest of her childhood and part of her teens. At the early age of eight or nine, she helped with the washing, ironing and spinning yarn to make material for clothing and knitting her own stockings. At age 12, she began to study telegraphy, and in April of 1871, about four months before her 14th birthday, she took charge of the “Railroad and Deseret Union” Telegraph Office in Salt Lake City. She held the position for over two years.


At the age of 16, Selina married 23-year-old, Edward Charles Phillips November 17, 1873, one month short of his 24th birthday. They were married in the Salt Lake City Endowment House, then began their life together in Kaysville, Utah. Their possessions included only a horse and $90 cash to set up housekeeping. 


Fifteen years later, on April 12, 1888, encouraged by her father, Selina and Edward left Kaysville for Thatcher, Arizona. They left Kaysville even before selling their farm and home; leaving without a single debt andwith over $800 cash—a tidy sum in those days—in their possession, plus two good teams and wagons carrying a fine supply of provisions. They made the trip with their five sons: Jesse Charles, born August 30, 1874; Christopher E., born July 27, 1877; David Dee, born January 5, 1882; Joseph Alvin, born July 27, 1884 and Rudgar, born January 6, 1887 and probably a daughter, Mattie Gish, (apparently adopted) born February 2, 1886. They ranged in age from 18 months to 14 years old. My father, David Dee, was the fourth son born, but the third oldest at the time of the trip; for their third son, Franklin C, born March 8, 1880, had died earlier at 17 months on august 14, 1881. The family arrived in Thatcher, May 19, 1888, after one month and six days of travel. My dad, David Dee, was 6 years 4 months old. 


Grandmother’s father, Christopher Layton, had preceded them to Thatcher a few years earlier under  direction of the Prophet to assume leadership of the pioneer members of the Church, organize them into wards and preside over the wards as the first stake president. (This also helped him avoid apprehension by the federal hounds because of plural marriages.) 


Soon after their arrival in the Gila Valley, Grandfather and Grandmother bought 40 acres of farm land from owners, James A. Duke and Grandmother’s father, Christopher.  Also they straightway purchased a choice lot on the southwest corner of Main and High School Streets in Thatcher. After just five weeks, they moved into their new, red-brick home built on that lot. It consisted of two rooms and a pantry. Later, nice additions were added to accommodate the expanding needs of a growing family. They were quick to plant their vegetable garden, fruit and shade trees, Utah lilac and current bushes, beautiful roses and a grass lawn.  Without delay, they were building the necessary sheds and corrals for their livestock.


Grandfather Edward became a successful farmer and businessman. Much to his advantage, the Cooperative Wagon and Machine Company of Salt Lake City requested that he manage their agency in Thatcher, which grew to be large and profitable under his intuitive care. In the spring of 1898, Andrew C. Kimball, (the father of President Spencer W. Kimball, who later married my grandmother, Josephine Cluff Jones) bought a partnership from Grandfather Phillips in that business. Later, Grandfather Phillips with four other partners  built the buildingand organized and directed the management of the “Big Six,” general merchandise store in Thatcher. (So named, for it originally had six owners.)  Politically informed and active, he served four years on the Thatcher Town Council, and on April 6, 1904, the voters elected him Mayor and  he served four years.


Grandmother Selina Phillips, who in her heart perceived it her sacred duty to help in the burial of friends and relatives, gained the love and gratitude of the town’s people and Church leaders. Sometimes alone and other times with help, she sewed the burial clothes and helped prepare the bodies for interment. (Mortuaries were nonexistent in those days.) In many ways, and especially with this, she served the residents of Thatcher and the neighboring communities to put to final rest their loved-ones, which were numerous and of all ages.


A female dynamo ahead of her time; beyond her wifely and motherly duties, Selina served as Secretary of the Central Canal Company and Treasurer of The Phillips-Kimball Machine Company. Moreover, through the years she and Grandfather Edward Phillips accepted a diversity of important Church callings, one, as the scribe for her stake president father, for it’s said that he could not read or write. (If the forgoing is true, what tremendous faith and testimony, together with mental powers, prowess and memory for organizing and retaining facts and figures of Church and personal business—he must have had.)  We must remember that Selina’s father, Christopher Layton, who served as the stake president for many years, knew his daughter and her husband’s special gifts and versatility. One of Christopher’s business partners, Andrew Kimball, who also knew well their talents and dedication, eventually replaced Christopher as stake president of the expansive stake when Christopher’s health failed him. In important Church positions, Selina and Edward, by assignment, traveled many hundreds, if not thousands, of miles by horse-drawn buggy visiting the wards of the stake. Wards visited included: Globe, Eden, Bryce, Mathewsville, Pima, Hubbard, Graham, Central, Thatcher, Layton, Artesia, Saint David, Benson, Franklin and others scattered 160 miles east to west and 100 miles north to south, including El Paso, Texas 140 miles east of Thatcher.


Recalling that Selena and Edward had lost their third born son prior to leaving Kaysville, Utah—in Thatcher they suffered their share of tragedies also.  Twin sons born June 16, 1889, died the same day of their birth; furthermore, their second son, Christopher, born July 27, 1877, passed away at 14, December 28, 1891, two years after arriving in Thatcher. But finally, after all those boys, Grandmother blessed the family on January 2, 1892, with a baby daughter, Alice Selena, a precious little-one named after her mother. Grandfather, though ecstatic beyond imagination felt disappointment, because he wanted to name her “Happy Delight.” A second daughter, Priscilla, to their “happiness and delight,” born December 27, 1895, rounded out the number of children born to Grandmother and Grandfather Phillips to an even ten. She brought her first child into the world at 17 years 15 days of age, and the last arrived at age 38—ten children during 21 years.  Taking into account all she accomplished in raising a large family and managing a household, with all the incidentals, fulfilling her Church callings to the end, and her innumerable acts of selfless kindness—the written record, without doubt, is insufficient to impart the extent of all that this remarkable woman, with her fine husband accomplished.   


Grandmother Selena Layton Phillips passed away at age 62, April 3, 1920. Later, Grandfather Edward Charles Phillips married Hannah Nelson after Grandmother’s death.  Sweet and wonderful to him in his old age, Hannah became a loving stepmother and grandmother to his children also, and she all ready had a large family of her own. Grandfather died at 79, February 4, 1929, a little more than eight years after Grandmother Selina. The two are buried side by side in the Phillips plot at the Thatcher cemetery where they share a beautiful, black, granite tombstone.


Grandmother Phillip’s exemplified efficiency:  Even from the time I was a little child, I noticed that she had every thing under control. She always dressed immaculately, and I remember she had white hair done up in a pile on top of her head. She must have gone gray at a young age.


Grandma kept her living room (parlor) clean and in perfect order. It was hardly used by them except to receive visitors or entertain, but Grandma allowed me to be in it any time I wanted. I thought it the most beautiful room. She had upholstered a settee and rocking chair, which had an old-fashioned rocking mechanism underneath) using the material of a beautiful chenille carpet that my Dad had brought her from his mission in South Africa. (Mama nearly had a fit when she saw her cutting it up.) Though never encouraged to use the piano, we were allowed to, because Grandma knew that my cousin Phyllis and I had been taught to appreciate a piano.    


Grandpa Phillips, Dad’s father, seemed a very quiet and subdued man and was dear, sweet, kind, ambitious and busy, While Grandma managed most family business, in and outside the home, Grandpa tended the animals in the big corrals out back, keeping the corrals in excellent repair and order and the yard trimmed, cut and beautiful, in addition to running the Big Six mercantile store. 


The corrals were such fun and farm-like, and sometimes when Grandpa milked the cow, with cup in hand I would slip over to visit, and right from the cow he would squirt the warm milk into the cup. It tasted so good!  I would stand there enjoying it as I watched him finish stripping the richest milk from the cow. After my Grandma and Grandpa Phillips died, Aunt Alice, their daughter, and Uncle Pratt Pace owned the house, and  Uncle Pratt also accommodated Phyllis and I with fresh milk straight to our cups, as had Grandpa before.  For a little girl that was such a treat.


Mama told us that the quality of her children’s voices was inherited mostly through Grandpa Phillips.  That may have been true, for even as a small child it struck me that Grandmother Nonnie, Mamas mother, lacked quality in her voice, though she had a good ear for music.


Active and faithful members, they had each other when they attended church, but because my Grandmother Nonnie’s husband (Andrew Kimball) serving as stake president, visited the other wards he was seldom there. Even when Grandpa Andrew attended our ward, he sat on the stand. At times, at church without my parents and since she had no one to sit with, I often sat with her.


Though I don’t remember them tending me, I’m sure they must have. They were busy people in their own world. It seemed they had no time to pay much attention to others, or to me when I was around. Yet, I never felt unloved or neglected. I felt comfortable playing at there place, two doors down from ours, whenever I wanted. I remember playing in their front yard, conscious of the big, red ants crawling around and the bees buzzing at the flowers. Playing in the dirt on one occasion, raking it with my fingers, something stung me.

Mother, does something need added to the end of the above paragraph?


     A letter from my youngest brother, Rodney Phillips, in Safford, AZ, to his kids, dated February 23, 1990, stands as a tribute to an all ready great man:

     Hi Kids, There is not much in the way of local news, the enclosed clippings will verify this. Valentines Day was a disaster weather-wise.  (Strong winds blew all day) with rain, hail, sleet and snow, really a …bad day to go swimming in the river. Then to top that, the following Monday we had a second performance. Today so far looks like a fair day if the …wind stays low I may be able to pick up a few pecans on the deck. To you, this may sound a simple thing, but to me with my bit of equilibrium problems it’s a chore.

     Wednesday was a busy day for me, John Stebbins (Adj. Gen. for our American Legion district) called by bringing me the Veterans Administration metal marker that I will install at the headstone of Grandpa [“Charles” EdwardPhillips] to identify him as [a] veteran of the Indian Wars. Then while John was here Lottie came down t visit a little while. (She was in Safford to see Jessie who is 92,) then Jean came in while they were both here—to bring me a delicious dish of gourmet strip steak on toast with broccoli plus a cherry pie serving). She, Glenn and little Amber are all so very thoughtful, kind and generous to me. Last Monday she brought me nine “beef and green chile burros” which she had made at home and they are being enjoyed so much by the ‘King of Mexican Food Judges.’

     Hope all of you are well and enjoying the nice climate and that the ‘oil spill’ is not up to your North Windows. [Signed]—Much Love to both,  Rodney

     [At the time, Rodney’s health was poor and failing fast, and he was very appreciative of all who had a hand in making him comfortable and tending to his needs.]




Selena Layton Phillips

Thatcher - December 20, 1903


A Patriarchal blessing by Sam Claridge on the head of Selena Phillips, daughter of Christopher Layton and Caroline Cooper, born August 12, 1854, Carson City, Nevada.


Sister Phillips, in the name of Jesus Christ, I place my hands upon your head and bless you as a Patriarch in Israel and according to your faith so shall you be blessed at this time, notwithstanding your body is weak, your spirit is prepared to receive the blessing of the Lord unto you at this time for you are one of the favored daughters of Eve and were so before you came to this earth.  You were honored and respected by thousands.  Be sure you set a worthy example before them.  You were blessed and set apart to come to this earth to perform a particular part in the great Latter day work and the Lord will continue to bless your labors and lengthen out your days and although the enemy has sought to take advantage of your weak condition, many times your life's been preserved by the power of Jesus and He will continue to renew you mentally and physically until your labors on the earth is finished.  Your labors are accepted of your Heavenly Father.  Especially for the interest you have taken in the young and rising generation and also in your father's family and they are all recorded in the Heaven above.  Your glory and honor will be great because what you have done has been for the interest of Zion.  You have received great honor in heaven, the privilege of being born through parents who have received the greatest blessing that can be conferred in the Temple of the Lord.  And you in connection with your father's family will be honored and respected as one of the leading

families in Israel.  You are of the chosen seed through the lineage of Joseph and you will have great joy in

raising sons and daughters who will be filled with the spirit of the Gospel and will take their part in

establishing the Zion of our Lord upon the earth.  And I say unto you, Sister Phillips, be thou comforted in thy spirit, for the Lord has never forsaken neither will He, and these trials and afflictions that you have already passed through shall all go to the purifying of your spirit and prepare you for those future honors that await you.  I bless you in your body and pray ---- Heavenly Father that from this time there will be a resting influence over you to prevent the Adversary from taking advantage of your weakness as he hath hitherto done.  And the closer you draw near to your Heavenly Father the more you shall enjoy of the sweet communion of His holy spirit and you will have joy and satisfaction in all your labors through life.  And all these blessings I seal upon you through your faithfulness and in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


358.  (Transcribed from a copy of the original by Virginia Phillips Webster. 

Typed by David R. Phillips January 5, 1996)












My grandmother, Josephine Cluff, my mother’s mother, was born January 15, 1860, in Heber City, Utah, the second child and daughter in a family of three boys and five girls, and four half-brothers and three half-sisters. One brother died as a child and another on the day of his birth.  The others reached adulthood and married. Her parents were Benjamin Cluff, born March 20, 1830 in the town of Durham, Stratford County, New Hampshire and Eliza Arnette Foster, born November 14, 1841 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Mary Ellen Foster, the first wife was a sister to Grandmother’s mother.)


Josephine Cluff’s family and friends called her “Josie,” but her grandchildren affectionately called her “Nonnie.”  Her daughter’s living children consisted of three sons and three daughters which included me.  In this short glimpse of history, I’ll often refer to her as Nonnie, for that is how I knew her. Also, she will be called Grandmother, and Josephine. John William Jones, her first husband, will often be called Papa, for that is the name by which his only daughter and son knew him. Andrew Kimball will be called Grandpa Kimball or Andrew.


Married December 23, 1880, Josie and William lived in a valley nestled in the Wasatch Mountains in Center Creek Ward, an outlying section of Heber City, Utah, in a log house of three rooms. It had a peaked slanting roof which allowed for a loft-room accessible by ladder. There, their two children were born: Eliza Arnette (Nettie) my mother, on October 2, 1882, and William “Wallace” on October 30, 1884.


Josie and eight others of her family became educated to the extent that all were certified to teach school. A multi-talented woman from a highly motivated, progressive, educated family, Josie became well educated.   Teaching at the time of her marriage, she continued teaching after the birth of her children, for she loved to teach, and  employed a young woman to help with the children allowing her to be away for part of the day.  As described by her daughter, Josie was, “a quick nervous little woman with more ambition than strength, though her health was good, and she was very practical minded.”


After her little children grew older, Josie attended Brigham Young University at Provo to qualify for higher teaching credentials. During her first school year, the Jones grandparents kept her two children. The second school year at BYU, Nettie (her only daughter—my mother) went with her where the two lived with an aunt.  Later, Nettie would begin attending elementary school there in Provo.   


John William Jones, my grandpa, who married Josephine Cluff, was born April 26, 1858, in Provo, Utah, to Richard Jones, born January 1, 1836, in Warren Twp., J, Ohio, and Mary Jane Cummings, born October 1833, in Gibson County, Tennessee. (Richard Jones served as the sheriff of Wasatch County for fifteen years.)


My mother, Nettie, spoke and wrote warmly of her father, John William and his family: “There were many relatives of Jones and Cummings in Heber, Utah, and I loved them all dearly. They were so kind and affectionate, and they loved all their grandchildren. But, Wallace [her brother] and I had the inroads, I believe.” 


One of the first happy occasions in her memory of her father occurred during a Christmas Eve.  Santa Claus tried to give her a beautiful china-head doll. Afraid of Santa, she refused to take it, so her father took it for her. Her Papa held her up to the lovely, candle-lit Christmas tree as he walked around it pointing out all the decorations. Holding her very tight, he gathered the lovely doll into his arms, together with her, which she loved, but she said she was still afraid of Santa Claus.    


She tells that early Christmas morning her Papa awakened her, wrapped a big, wool shawl around her and carried her into the front room to show her all that Santa had left. I quote from Mother’s (Nettie,s) personal history, a few of her memories of him: “Papa, one rainy afternoon brought home a watermelon; another time, he brought peaches in a tub. These are the first fruits I remember. Then, my mother’s oldest half-brother, Benjamin Jr., came from Hawaii and brought the first banana I had ever eaten.” She adds: “My father took us to the mountains in September of 1885. The Wasatch Mountains are beautiful in the autumn. All the trees were brilliant hues of gold and red. I was very fascinated with the beauty of it and I scuffed along in the noisy and dead leaves. I got tired and Papa carried me, pointing out beautiful trees. We found bird nests and sang songs, at least the grownups did.”


 “My father loved circuses. One morning before daybreak, I was given a warm breakfast and wrapped in a blanket. Papa rode a horse with me (in front of him) in the blanket, and my clothes were in a package tied to the saddle, from Heber to Park City for a big circus. The snow covered the ground, and it was quite cold. I remember as he galloped along he would open the blanket to see if I were sleeping. He always smiled and asked me if I was warm and comfortable. It was such fun to arrive and have my relatives “oh” and “ah” over me. I had to be tucked in for a sleep. Then they dressed me up, and we went to the circus. Papa carried me everywhere and was anxious that I might not miss seeing anything.”


My mother, Nettie, explains about her parents, Josie and William, “My parents were growing apart, I subconsciously knew this.” Of her father she adds: “My father came of Southern parents. He was just opposite in disposition (to his wife)—slow and quiet; a dreamer. I think he had inclinations of art. With not much education, he was a laborer. But he loved parties and good times. I often wonder what fate it is that draws people of such incompatible natures into marriage. Anyway, I loved them both, and they loved us very much.” She comments on a later visit to Utah about her father being away at the time, “Busy with mining and minerals or cards and horse racing, but he never married again in his life.” (Josie and William probably divorced prior to or in early 1889.)


After Josephine graduated from Brigham Young University, in August she took her children to their father’s family to bid the children’s grandparents good-bye. She had borrowed money at the bank and with her children she boarded the train for Arizona to start a life afresh among loving uncles and aunts. She had prepared for the trip—a large basket of food, for diner cars was nonexistent. They made the trip through the days and nights sleeping in their chairs, for the train also lacked pullmans. According to my mother’s account, connections were poor and some times they had forced layovers for as long as 24 hours. She remembers pinching her fingers in the passenger-car window, and insult added to injury, being locked in the rest room until the train made its next stop where the conductor had to crawl through the window to rescue her.


The railroad line came to its end in Bowie Arizona. The three stayed there at the hotel three days until Josie’s half-brother, Foster, arrived in a covered wagon to pick them up for the last leg of the journey. Fortunately the wagon carried two water barrels, one on each side for the trip over 55 miles of harsh, hot, dry desert. On August 29, 1989, they arrived at the ranch below Pima that belonged to my mother’s Great-uncle Foster. My mother’s seventh birthday was slightly more than a month away. Wallace had not turned five, and Nonnie had celebrated her 39th birthday in January.  


Foster Cluff and his wife and children lived under conditions that mother considered poverty, for she said of them, “such poor people,” and at first she missed the “nice things and comforts of Utah,” for Arizona was to her, “a raw, wild country,” but later as a young teenager, with vigor she would staunchly defend against any derogatory comments about “her” Arizona. That October, the five Foster children, my mother and her brother all came down with the measles.


She remembers her mother as “a praying woman” recalling what she described as a “struggle for our very survival” after arrival in the Gila Valley. Though Nonnie had a mortal terror of rattlesnakes, centipedes and scorpions, with her two little ones, in the privacy of the close-by mesquite wilds, she would clear a spot for them to kneel and pray, “for she needed work so badly.”


Nonnie worked very hard at different jobs, but later, the threesome lived with Bishop and Sister Hyrum Weech. They had a family of nine children. The couple had begged for Nonnie’s help, for they and all their children had come down with the measles. Since she and her children had all ready suffered the scourge, mother said, “I enjoyed every sick child in that house.” Mama loved babies and little children, not only as a small child but throughout her life. The Weech family enjoyed them and appreciated their help. Two months passed while they stayed. When they left, the entire family cried, including the Bishop himself. Mama loved every member of the family. Pearl, the daughter closest to her age became a best friend. Pearl’s son, Scott Merrill, later married Eleanor, the oldest daughter in Mama’s family-to-be. (Eleanor, 2 years my senior, was my eldest sister.)


(Coincidentally, the John Sims family lived next door to the Weech home. John owned a furniture store, and earned his way as a cabinet maker and builder while raising a large family there in Pima. One of the Sims daughters, Clara, along with Pearl Weech and my mother, Nettie, were a threesome best friends. Clara’s son Darvil and I eventually married. Mama thought the double event involving next-door neighbors to be quite a coincidence, and I do too.


Their first winter and summer in Pima passed. Finally, a small elementary school in the neighboring town of Central, located between Pima and Thatcher, hired Josie to teach during the school year of 1890/91. The   one-room building served as church house and dance hall too. Josie’s two uncles, Joseph and Alfred, lived there close, where they enjoyed success as farmers. Joseph owned a small commodity store, served as the postmaster and as the ward bishop.


Josie bought property close to the school and arranged for an orchard and a small cow pasture to be planted on it. In time, she bought a two-room, frame house and had it moved onto the lot, then, she moved her family from Pima to Central thus avoiding the 10-mile, round trip by buggy to teach her school class. The entire town embraced the single mother and her two children, helping them in many ways to settle in and find happiness. Nettie, my mother, said of the friendly little community: “How we loved that home and all the people that lived in the town. They respected us very much and took us in as a mother or father would hold a family in their arms.”


The following paragraph from my mother’s autobiography sheds revealing light upon the personality of my Grandmother Nonnie: “My mother was such a talented, small person. She could sing very well and of course sang in the church choir. Her readings were such treats at the socials, dances and programs of every sort. She taught and drilled me also in the readings which I gave from the time when I was a very little girl in primary and at many socials. I learned ‘Seven Times One’ and recited it when I was seven years old. Those people were hard working pioneers, just ‘salt of the very earth’. They had little education, but most had an inner refinement that had graced them in connection with our dear Church. It occurs to me now that the grace of our Heavenly Father—and their utter humility had refined them. I could write pages of their lives and sweetness to my mother, brother and me.”


Like the rest of her family, Nonnie loved and devoted her extra time to involvement in dramatic arts. Petite, just a slip-of-a-woman, in her drama group she often played the part of smaller and younger characters. Plays were a major source of involvement and entertainment in those days. Nonnie became quite an outstanding actor and dramatist. Their group traveled throughout the valley, even as far as Duncan, and, over to Wilcox and St. David to perform. A very popular group, they had no trouble drawing large enthusiastic audiences. 


Another paragraph of Mama’s history regarding Josie’s two brothers and a sister that lived in the valley, better elucidates her interests and talents: “For years this group, (the Cluff brothers and sisters) with others, had been a great source of theatrical entertainment for a great part of Arizona. Most of them had studied elocution. They were gifted and were not amateurs. Some had traveled in summer stock theaters. The theater was so exciting to all people, and I was in my glory when I was with them. They all seemed to give a part of their lives to me. All were educated, many of them early-day teachers. If I ever made an error in my grammar, I was corrected on the spot. Oh, how I loved them—every one.  I was one little girl among grown people who were interested in my welfare.”


While the family lived in Central they kept a flock of chickens.  Free-running without a pen, the hens would steal away and find a secluded hide-a-way to use over and over as their nesting site. The youngsters, Nettie and Wallace found one of their nests, but kept it a secret from their mother. They gathered the eggs to take to the store to sell. After a season, they saved enough money to buy what they believed to be a “special treasure” for their mother’s Christmas present. With the hidden earnings they finally purchased four beautiful, small, hand-painted, china plates. She opened the present on Christmas day. She gathered both children into her arms, crying as she smiled, and said with great tenderness, “Thank you, my darlings.”  Indeed, they were treasured by her for the rest of her life. Before Nonnie died she gave them to Mama, who in turn gave them to me. I gave two of them to grandchildren I knew would appreciate them. I have the other two here next to my mother’s “hot chocolate, service set”.


Evidence discloses Josie to have been no slouch in the art of horse trading, nor, in just plain business negotiations. In the year 1895, the railroad under construction threaded its way through the valley. It happened to cross a corner of her property. The adjusters had quite a time settling with her, and in the end she got “her” price.


After teaching several years in Central, the LDS Academy in Thatcher hired Nonnie as a teacher. Later she became the Matron (Dean of Women). Eventually, she sold her property in Central, moving to Thatcher into a small, red-brick home she had had built. While the family lived there, Mother would marry, and Grandmother Josephine (Nonnie) would soon receive her mission call. Also, Papa, Mama’s father and Josie’s former husband, came visiting his children there. 


Mama and her brother spent quite a bit of time with their father. They loved him dearly and he loved them.  He came as often as he could to visit, always bringing gifts. Once he brought a bicycle, on another visit a quart-size crock of jelly for Mama. It’s the cutest, glazed, clay container I’ve ever seen; I’ve always cherished it. Darvil and I chanced upon one exactly like it at a yard sale, except it lacked the wire bail handle, but Darvil duplicated one like the original complete with the slender wooden spool where the handle is grasped.  I have it right here in the kitchen, it’s so precious to me.  Sally Jo has the original. 


At times, Mama’s father was called on by the old Dominion Mine in Globe, sixty miles west of Thatcher for his services. Since the owners of the elegant and beautiful Dominion Hotel were personal friends, he would  room there. On several occasions, Nettie and Wallace were invited to spend a few days with him. Each time it was an exciting adventure for both to make the trip—but even more exciting to be with their Papa. He showed much affection toward his two children; they loved him dearly. She recounted many loving experiences with him.


With a fine, handsome husband and five beautiful children, Mama relished the thought of the time when her Papa would meet and know her family. Special arrangements were made for him to visit and enjoy the clement, Arizona weather during a time he could escape part of the deep Utah winter. I was seventeen then, and we all anxiously awaited his visit. But, he fell ill and died that November at age 71. With grave remorse, we children lamented over never having met our grandfather Jones.


Nonnie tried to see that her children had every advantage in education, cultural experiences and opportunity. Several times she and her two children returned to visit family in Utah. At age 14, Nonnie and Mama spent part of a summer with her aunts and many cousins. While visiting, she recalls: “I went to Heber City to see my grandparents Jones. They were all so nice to me. Grandma could not bear me out of her sight. In her bedroom, she had my high chair, cradle, little cupboard and table and chairs. I remember regretting being so grown I could not play with them any more.” Mama explained to me how nostalgia welled up inside her as she looked at what had been so precious to her as a little girl.


Nonnie (Josephine) allowed Mama to be shifted around a lot among four aunts and her grandmother Jones.  Her aunts and her grandmother loved her. They each pleaded with Nonnie to let her come for visits. The three full sisters (Mama’s aunts) lived in Ogden, Logan and Heber City where her grandmother Jones also lived. (A half-sister, Ella Birdno, lived in Safford.) Her Utah aunt’s had more sons than daughters, and the women constantly solicited their sister, Nonnie, to let her daughter come to visit. The several boy cousins close to her age took pleasure in showing off their gorgeous, charming cousin. Mother liked the attention and looked forward to the three households vying for her visits, and she loved the visits with them. Meanwhile, it brought relief to her mother to occasionally have her out from underfoot, and Mama never resented her mother in the least for letting her be shared among the loving families.


Mama told the story of when her mother and she were visiting Aunt Maggy’s home. A short supply of money posed an underlying worry at the time, so they carefully rationed their butter. One night, the children were given milk and bread—without butter—spread with molasses before being ushered off to bed. As chance would have it, somehow the children could look through a window from where they were, and see the grown-ups eating their bread and molasses—with butter. They all loved butter too and weren’t happy at all with what they happened to see.


Over all, her visits were happy ones, but she remembered with some irritation another episode with an aunt.  Her cousin and she had washed all the dishes and put them away in the cupboards. The aunt arrived on the scene just as they finished and asked if they had scalded the dishes. Answering that they hadn’t, the aunt made them take every dish back out to re-wash and scald, before drying and putting them away for the second time.


Returning from a visit in Heber City, Mama saw for the first time the newly delivered piano Nonnie had bought to surprise her at her return. Of light, reddish-blond oak, with a bit of gingerbread and delicately painted art, the Smith Barnes had been made in Chicago sometime between 1888 and 1894. How we all enjoyed it and its beautiful matching stool as we grew up. 


Eleanor was a superior student in school and a talented pianist who loved to practice. A student of piano theory, she excelled in playing and teaching as well. Jean in turn became an accomplished pianist, and she too loved to practice, but I managed about fifteen minutes of frantic practice just before each lesson. Today, the beautiful instrument is still in excellent condition in Jean’s home. Her oldest son, Dee, learned to play on it and became a fine pianist also.


The men in our home: Dad, Dee, Virgil and Rodney all had voices of quality. (Virgil had the best voice of the boys.) They would sing at the piano frequently, often bringing in their friends to enjoy short, evening songfests. Dad sang occasionally: “Asleep in the Deep,” “Holy City” and other well known selections of the day. He sang mostly at home, but I remember him singing at least two solos in sacrament meeting.  According to Mama, Virgil had inherited his grandfather Phillips’ exceptional voice and sang more than his brothers, more so during his high school and junior college days. We loved to hear him sing, especially his favorite, “On the Road to Mandalay.” When he grew older and became so ill, he lost ability to sing. When first notified that he had finally passed away after having suffered so long, immediately to my mind came the thought, “How nice. Now he can sing again, and to Eleanor’s marvelous accompaniment.


The piano Nonnie afforded Mama has been a wonderful thing in our lives—a blessing in our home. As a little girl I loved the piano. Mama played for me, teaching me to sing primary songs, such as “Daddy Did A Wonderful Thing,” “Angels” and “Lullaby Land.” She and Dad loved music, and Mama used to say, “I hope in the next world I can have a most beautiful voice.” She always had a true, sweet voice and wonderful ear for harmony.


Grandmother Nonnie’s mother, Eliza Arnette Cluff, died at the young age of 39. She left small children, and since Nonnie was the oldest, it fell her lot to help raise them. Karl was the youngest, much younger than Nonnie, and she felt as though he were her own child. (Mama loved him like her own brother also.)  After Grandmother Nonnie moved to Arizona, several times Karl came from Utah to stay with them as well as with his other loving aunts and uncles in the valley.


After Nonnie’s children (Nettie and Wallace) were grown, my mother, Nettie, married on December 30, 1903. The following late spring, the prophet called her to serve as a missionary for the Church, to serve in St. Louis, Missouri. During 1904 and 1905 the city hosted the World Fair which was in full swing. She and her proselyting companion, Jeanetta McKay, a sister to the future president of the church, David O. McKay, enjoyed the singular experience of overseeing and acting as hostesses at the Church exhibit at the fair sponsored by  the Church. We know that Jeanetta’s health deteriorated, and her parents went to St. Louis specifically to take her home; for she was in need of their care to make the return trip. (Jeanetta’s father was a Utah State Senator at the time.) On Grandmother Josephine’s way home after completing her mission in September of 1905, she stayed at the McKay home for several days. They were wonderful people and they must have treated her like a princess. (I have a copy of part of her missionary journal which reflects the extent of her labor and the depth of her devotion to her religion.)




We now enter a previously unorganized part of family history which is gathered from several writings and memories. Standing alone, the several parts of this histoory serve only as brief interludes of interest.  Together in proper sequence, set within the framework of revealing dates and circumstances, they bring to life a vibrant portrait never before seen. Piecing it together was like a jigsaw puzzle of a portrait; a portrait of an extraordinary woman that piece by piece materialized.


We look back into a different setting of time, difficult for us who were never part of it to reconstruct and visualize in our mind’s eye. Science was in its infancy: no antibiotics or modern surgical techniques, at best, crude household appliances, transportation via the age-old, horse-drawn wagons and buggies, gradually giving way to unsophisticated (though modern at the time) motorized vehicles. A day when a few began to enjoyed hints of electricity, indoor kitchen and bathroom plumbing and the party-line telephone. Afforded by few at first, it served the eavesdroppers as much as the, supposed, private parties in conversation.


I’m one of only two living grandchildren of Nonnie and Grandpa Jones, but the only one who personally knew her. My little sister, Jean Arnetta Dowdle, came into the world after her death. A youngster growing up at the time, I knew Nonnie well, for I lived only a block away, across and down the street from her home.  (Nonnie had married Grandpa Andrew (albeit my step-grandfather) exactly five years to the day before my birth.)


To understand in part the blending of many lives that the second marriage brought about, it’s essential to lay out graphically the sequence showing time-lapses between important dates which show their interrelationships. Only in this way can one begin to feel the spirit of the dynamic story that unfolds. (Refer to the next two lists of events and dates.)



                                      SEQUENCE OF SPECIAL EVENTS


John William Jones, born

April 26, 1858

Olive Woolley, born

June 1, 1860

Andrew Chase Kimball, born

September 6, 1858

Josephine Cluff, born

January 15, 1860

Josephine Cluff married John William Jones

December 23, 1880

Olive Woolley married Andrew chase Kimball

February 2, 1882

Josephine divorced William Jones—probably before, but at least by early


Josephine and her two children arrive in Pima. Arizona, in the Gila Valley

August 29, 1889

Olive and Andrew’s first living daughter, Clare Kimball married on

October 8, 1903

Josephine’s eldest, Eliza Arnette (Nettie) Jones married on

December 30, 1903

Josephine—educated, years of independence and self sufficient, completed her mission

September, 1905

Olive Kimball died at age 46 after a 24-Yr. marriage, leaving Andrew with 7 children

October 18, 1906 

Josephine and Andrew married

June 8, 1907


To Olive and Andrew, 11 children were born:  The firstborn died at 10 months; the fifth died at 22 years  4 and one-half months; the eighth died at five years; the tenth died at birth; the eleventh died at 2 years 6 months on the day Josephine and Andrew were sealed in The Salt Lake Temple.



                                                                                 Age                                             Date of Marriage

Andrew “Gordon”


                 April 6, 1910

“Delbert” Gheen   

                  16 y. 9 m

                 March 1933

“Ruth” Woolley   

                  14 y. 7 m.


“Spencer” Woolley 

                  12 y. 2 m.

                 November 16, 1917

“Alice” Ann         

                  10 y. 3 m.

                 June 7, 1916

“Helen” Mar        

                  5 y. 9 m.

                 September 10, 1918




To set the stage, we must remembered Josie found herself a single mother competing in a day when it was a “man’s world.” There was nothing laid back or passive about her. Her history reflects a small but fearless individual who demonstrated a life of selflessness appropriately mixed with independence and pursuit of improvement in educational disciplines, cultural arts and religion. She had already raised her own two children. Then, later, she managed a second large, complicated household with its relentless, formidable challenges, all the while, tending to her important callings in the Church.


As a single father, Grandpa Andrew’s plight was grave. The desperation he felt at the loss of his sweetheart—wife, the mother of his children, is only fathomable to those who have found themselves in like despair. His heart ached and his health deteriorated under the burden. He recorded, “Was terribly broken up in my feelings,” and, “More lonesome than ever.” In explanation of breaking down and sobbing, he added, “somehow at some times I can’t help it.” Then, “The loss by death of my sweet wife and companion undermined my health considerable.” His health worsened. Four months after the time of Olive’s passing, ulcers and sleepless nights plagued him still. 



The following is verbatim from the book, SPENCER W. KIMBALL— by Edward and Andrew Kimball, ch. 4, Bookcraft Inc., 1977: “The bottom dropped out of the household. After Aunt Alice returned to Salt Lake, Spencer’s oldest sister, Clare, brought her two children and tended house for a couple of months. But finally she had to go home to her husband fifteen miles south in Artesia. So Ruth, who was two years older than Spencer, dropped out of the eighth grade and tried to fill the emptiness. She cooked meals, bandaged sores, did laundry on the washboard in a metal tub, heated the Saturday night bath water in buckets and kettles. To Spencer she was less a sister than ‘an angel-mother.’ ‘I idolized her.’ But the family needed a mother; a woman who would take care of his children. [Aunt Alice was Andrew’s twin sister who had come to help.]

“Josephine Cluff had long been a close friend to the family. Before she died, Olive had told Andrew that Josie was a good woman and would love his children. Heartsick with Olives death, Andrew went through the motions of courting Josie within weeks of his wife’s funeral. His heart was still so much with his dear wife that Josie wrote her sister even after she had married Andrew: ‘He and his wife were as one and it will take years to wear off the sting of her death. Everything about the house reminds us of her, her picture is in every room. All this only time can heal.’ But, she reasoned, Andrew’s attachment to his first wife promised the same treatment for herself. “He was good to her—he will be good to me.


“Spencer remembered his father courting Aunt Josie. After his father had brought her home several times, he took each child aside and asked, ‘What would you think of my getting married again?’ Spencer remembered answering, ‘That would be fine.’ Andrew went on, ‘You need a mother, don’t you?” ‘Yes,’ said Spencer.  Finally his father asked, ‘What would you think about Aunt Josie?’ Andrew got the consent of each child before he remarried.


“Josie was a unique woman for a small town like Thatcher. A divorcee with an annulment of her temple marriage, she had taken back her maiden name, packed her things, and moved herself and two children out to frontier Arizona to teach school. After 22 years as a schoolteacher she had served a mission from 1904 to 1905 and now worked in the stake Young Ladies MIA. A fancy dresser, a good talker, high-strung and nervous, quick at repartee, a clever and experienced actress, she was soon a favorite of many. 


“Quieter women were quelled by her quick tongue. Jessie Killian told of attending a popular play, ‘East Lynn,’ as a little girl, with her mother and Josie. As the play became sadder and sadder, the tears began to trickle down the mother’s face. Josie looked over at her and in a brisk, professional tone reminded her:  “Why, sister Ellsworth, this is only a play. Look how well they’re doing.’ Jessie’s mother dried her tears in a hurry.


“A woman of such aristocratic tastes and sharp opinions would not be easy to get used to after a gentle and soft-spoken mother. To change his mother for another woman was hard, but any criticism Spencer had, he carefully suppressed out of characteristic refusal to speak badly of others. And to a mother, even a stepmother, special loyalty was due. On his mission some years later, Spencer would be quizzed about his stepmother. Wasn’t she unkind to him, wasn’t she a typical stepmother? ‘I always said, No,’ he explained,  because, ‘it would be unfair to her’ to emphasize the hard things and forget the good. ‘She was a wonderful woman, a wonderful mother, and she took good care of us. A good Latter-day Saint.’ At 47, Josie was the same age as Olive, but it was not easy to take over a family of seven children at home. No woman would lightly take on such a task; it was a Christian service she could render. She did not expect or ask that it be easy, and it was not. It helped somewhat that the man she married was highly respected in the community. 


“What to call her posed a problem. Spencer and the younger girls used ‘Mother,’ since Olive had always been ‘Ma’ and no one could ever be that to them again. So the adjustment was made. Spencer made the best of his situation. He found there were things about this new mother he could prefer even to his real one. She kept an immaculate house, made excellent head cheese, and cooked a delicious pot of beans.


“A telegram brought Andrew and Josephine hurrying back to Arizona. It was a sad beginning to a marriage.  The body of the little child lay in the Kimball home. [Diphtheria struck, taking the child in just a few days while the parents were away.] It was not even taken to the funeral service at the chapel for fear of spreading what the local paper called a ‘Mysterious and Dreaded Disease.’ Andrew, who had nicknamed her ‘Ray’ buried his little sunshine in the gravel hill with her sisters and her mother.” [In the Thatcher Arizona Cemetery.]


Eight months after Olive’s passing, October 18, 1906, Andrew C. Kimball married Josie. One daughter had already married, but six children still remained at home.  (Remember that Andrew and Olive’s two-year-old baby daughter died on the very day that he and Josie were sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple, a heart breaking coincidence to what could otherwise have been a more perfect, new-beginning for them.)  Andrew was serving as stake president at the time he married my grandmother Nonnie. With that union she assumed an ominous task, taking the helm in raising the six remaining, where their loving mother tragically left off.  (The children varied in age from five years to 19.)


This wonderful mother, Olive Woolley Kimball, described as a loving, relaxed personality, who stayed focused entirely upon the manifold duties of nurturing her children to adulthood as Deity intended.  Conservative, discrete, and an unobtrusive, tender woman, the children felt her love as an ever-present embrace. Regardless of the state of house, chores, schedules and all else imaginable, they were secondary to the attention she deemed necessary for her children. A woman of numerous, wonderful traits; a very noble woman indeed, the intelligence of her children reflected her intellect just as much as that of their father’s. Of the new marriage, as only those who have been through similar circumstances can ever understand, there would be varied feelings on the part of the children—especially on the part of the older ones. Commonplace under such circumstances, a number of deep-seated, emotional frustrations arise in wounded hearts and confused minds: supposed betrayal on the part of their father against their departed mother; visions of intrusion on the part of the new mistress of the house; resentment toward anyone assumed presuming to replace their own mother; jealousy of a father’s diluted attention and time, diverted toward a new bride; departure from former routines and abrupt changes in procedures. A combination of the aforementioned and a host of other sentiments could easily have entered this complicated equation. 


Again, conjecture that only a new stepmother can imagine the immediacy of so many dilemmas that must have immerged. Hundreds of things would have to be worked out among six sets of tender feelings, which complicated the “just-getting-on” with the normal vicissitudes of a new marriage. This slip-of-a-woman suddenly in mid-sea had no escape options from the forces of currents and storms that drive and at times rage in every life. No doubt Josie felt compelled by divine circumstances to manage a new family. Olive’s inspired insight as to whom her husband should look to for her replacement attests to the hand of God in Andrew’s courtship of her and of her acceptance of him and the immense task that enveloped them. Again I point out that Olive, knowing full well of her imminent demise, had said to her husband, “Josie was (is) a good woman and would (will) love his (our) children.


Knowing Nonnie, despite all obstacles she would face any unforeseen, negative challenges. Furthermore, she and all associated with her would survive for the better. Decisive, incisive, orderly, disciplined, energetic and focused, appreciative and accomplished in cultural arts and educated, yes, a woman of many talents; she would ably resolve any list of tasks in remarkably short order. A business woman in a man’s world added to her stature as a mover to get things done. Order, fragmented by the loss of the mother, without doubt, was restored to the Kimball family, for she brought much to impart and shared it all. In capability, she and Grandpa Kimball were considerably alike. They were an indomitable and formidable pair in every positive sense for the family, the Church and the community.


There are no entries of record, no passed-down accounts or the least hint of complaint on Josie’s part about  difficulties in her new married life. To date, with the exception of Uncle Spencer’s writing, I’ve not been privileged to read any heart-felt accounts recorded by the Kimball children regarding the loss of their beloved mother, nor have I been made aware of the difficult adjustments they each must have made, with their father’s second marriage. 


What respect and admiration wells up within me as I ponder all she must have accomplished within her new family—to say nothing of accomplishments in employment, the fruit and vegetable harvesting and preserving, Church duties as the stake relief society president (for nearly two decades) personal cultural interests, and her secretarial and hosting duties to her stake president-husband’s visitors.


During the 15 years of marriage with Grandpa Kimball, from 1907 until her death in 1922, as the mother of the family, she would have had heavy responsibility in orchestrating the marriages of five of the children within an eight and one-half year period. (Three of them girls, a greater burden than with sons, though a son’s marriage would by no means be an easy task.)  With her new husband, of only a few days, she no doubt had a hand of wisdom in arranging the burial of little Rachel upon returning from their wedding. Then she attended to the burial of the married daughter, Ruth, after Ruth had been married but four years. Moreover, attention had to be given to the arrival of several grand-babies. And who will ever know of all the special events for each child that she attended, or attended to. Events like graduations, other school and church functions, birthdays, broken bones, illnesses, baby tending, presents, sorrows and disappointments.


Andrew Kimball’s son, Spencer W., became the twelfth prophet and president of the Church. As his father had many years before, Uncle Spencer had served as our Stake President before he was called to the Council of the Twelve Apostles to serve for many years.  (Of interest, since Christopher Layton, the stake’s first stake president was suffering terminal illness, the First Presidency Grandpa Andrew from to replace him.  Christopher Layton was my great-grandfather) Though Grandpa Andrew, Uncle Gordon, Uncle Spencer, Aunt Alice and Aunt Helen were really my step-grandfather, uncles and aunts, only after many years passed would I become aware of that mere technicality. To me they are forever just my Grandpa Andrew and my Uncle Gordon, Uncle Spencer and Aunt Alice and Aunt Helen. Though I was aware of Uncle Delbert and Aunt Ruth, I don’t really remember them.


I’ve often pondered but never understood why, within Uncle Spencer’s much writing, so little mention is made of such a noble and devoted woman as Josephine. However, I am thrilled with the entrees from the book, SPENCER W. KIMBALL, and grateful to the authors, Edward and Andrew, for the delightful, complimentary portrayal included of her. As a loving, educated, and sensitive daughter of God, she must have had significant influence upon her young charges. Through order, discipline and attention to detail, some credit for having cultivated attributes of the children is deserved. She would have had strong influence upon Andrews’s children, influencing them to greatness not only in the sight of men, but of more importance, in the sight of God. 


Uncle Spencer and Aunt Camilla kept contact with our family throughout their lives. Nonnie’s daughter, Nettie (my mother), loved them dearly and they stayed in touch with us through not only letters, notes, cards and photographs but through visits to our home and our visit to his offices in Salt Lake City at the passing of my brother, Virgil. Uncle Spencer spoke at Virgil’s funeral during a time when he didn’t feel very well himself. We always loved Camilla and him. Mama often said that Spencer was the most perfect boy and young man she had ever known.


On June 8, the very day baby Ruth died (the date Nonnie and Grandpa Kimball married) I’ll celebrate my 92nd  birthday. Again, I’m the only living, direct, descendant of Nonnie who personally knew her, felt of her wisdom, devotion and courage and vitality as well as her final suffering. I’m so relieved to have finally taken the time to assemble and record these few spates of history for her and her posterity. She was a woman of greatness. I’m proud of her; I love her; and I hope through this effort, a glimpse of her true spirit will engender a love for her, in my posterity and be an influence to strengthen them. 


I remember Nonnie well and often visited her. Even in her later years she was a small slender woman. I have one tiny slipper that she wore when she traveled with Grandpa Kimball. She dressed beautifully in suits and matching capes. I became my grandmother’s namesake, Mama named me just Josephine, without a middle name, just like Nonnie.   


Because my Grandmother Nonnie’s husband serving as stake president and visiting all the wards, he was seldom at home when I was in their home. Even when Grandpa Andrew attended our ward, he sat on the stand. At times when at church without my parents, and since she had no one to sit with, I often scooted in beside her.


After raising the second set of children, she continued activity in drama, continued teaching, cared for the home and acted as hostess four times each year for the general authorities who presided at the quarterly stake conferences. The general authorities were probably always members of the First Presidency or of the Council of the Twelve, for the Church was small compared to its population at this writing. Though their presence was a blessing, the preparations to accommodate the visitors in the home amounted to no small chore.  Without the luxuries of today, it meant scrub-board laundry done in a tub by hand, pressed, white, starched shirts with an iron heated on the wood, cook stove, fresh home-grown fruit and vegetables harvested for meals, preparing the home and preparation for her own interviews with the general authorities, as the stake relief society president. And, we must read into it, the numerous other preparations maybe insignificant standing alone, but all packaged together—very significant. 


Grandpa Kimball coaxed, even pleaded with my mother on many occasions to be sealed to him, for he loved her and her children as his very own, and we all loved him, for he was the only grandfather on our mother’s side we had ever known. However, Mama clung to the hope of being sealed to her own father who remained vividly loving in her memories. She said to me, “I love and respect your Grandpa for what he was and all he did for me and my family, but I need to leave that final decision to the eternities.” She knew that repentance might have been needed, and could come to finally make things right in the hereafter. She always felt that her resistance to being sealed to Andrew dealt a hurting blow to his sensibilities, probably interpreted as rejection and scorn. Of course, nothing was further from the truth. Nevertheless, as Nonnie lay dying, knowing the end not far, she called Mama to her side and said that if there was anything of hers she wanted, she must take it with her soon, for she said she knew that Mama and her family would receive no recognition in Grandpa’s will—which did prove true.    


Grandpa Kimball was a stockholder in the Southern Pacific Railroad. He and Nonnie traveled on passes a great deal after the older children were grown and gone. Eleanor and I knew of their goings-and-comings. I remember Eleanor being invited to go with them to Utah and to Idaho to visit Nonnie’s sisters. Eleanor loved being with the many boy cousins that were her age.


When I was about eight years old, Claire Brinkerhoff who was Grandpa’s oldest daughter needed surgery.  She had a daughter, Velva Ruth, and a son, Spencer, the daughter a bit older than me, and Spencer a bit younger, so Nonnie (Josephine) took me along with her to Los Angles where the family lived. I loved the   overnight train trip. I gulped in the new sights and especially enjoyed sleeping in the pullman car and the fun of eating our meals in the dining car. 


I loved Velva Ruth and Spencer, and while visiting I played with their pet guinea pig. I think I loved it as much as they did. However, while I was there, tragedy struck and the little pet died. We held a funeral, giving it an elaborate burial, covering the grave with a carpet of freshly-picked, beautiful nasturtiums.


While there, Nonnie opened a jar of Aunt Clare’s fig preserves. Velva and Spencer loved them, but they looked very dark and unappetizing to me—I had never eaten anything like them before. Nonnie coaxed me to “please just taste them,” assuring me of how delicious they were. I told her I had already tasted them and that I didn’t like them. But I watched with some envy how they relished the preserves and gobbled them down.  Later, finding myself alone in the kitchen, I sneaked into the refrigerator and tasted them. They were so delicious, but having already dug my own pit and cast myself therein, the only way I could enjoy them was to keep on sneaking. I should have told Nonnie the truth in the first place so I could really have enjoyed them. I had learned my lesson about story-telling the hard way.


Eleanor remembered Grandpa Kimball rocking her to sleep in front of the fireplace in the living room. I remember tagging along behind him as he carefully irrigated his orchard with small streams of water, always avoiding any waste of precious water. He irrigated the trees in his big orchard and the vines of the grape arbor that shaded the west side of the house. Little minnows in the stream caught my attention, and entranced, I began catching  them as they floated along, putting them in a can. I remember the cherry tree in the orchard I started trying to climb. Unbeknownst to me, at its base a large bed of big, red ants scurried about. When they crawled up my legs and began to sting, I began to squall and wave my little arms. Grandpa was there quickly to my rescue.


I remember Nonnie’s beautiful vinegar and oil cruet set on the table. Grandpa loved olive oil and used it during every meal on much of his food. He even sprinkled it on his toast for breakfast. I loved Nonnie’s chicken and rice soup. She knew it and invited me over to eat dinner with them each time she made it. I don’t recall the time when Nonnie didn’t have a pretty candy dish set out, filled with pink wintergreen and peppermints. We liked the peppermints, but I especially loved the pink wintergreen mints.


When Grandpa was away on business, Nonnie would invite me to stay the night. I loved that, because when by myself, she let me sleep with her in her pretty bedroom. Being a light sleeper, the chirping of the sparrows would awaken me each early morning. But I just laid there real still as though I were still sleeping. (I played possum a lot during my life.) When Eleanor and I were both there, we slept together in the beautiful blue bedroom. It had a blue bed and blue dresser in it, and it had blue window frames and doors, with walls painted a lighter blue, so we called it the blue room. 


As mentioned, Grandmother Nonnie was the stake relief society president for nearly two decades, but she didn’t drive. Grandpa kept his big Studebaker in readiness, and with Rodney and me tagging along Mama took care of chauffeuring her back and forth throughout the valley. When she visited the wards in Miami and El Paso she chose the train.


As Nonnie’s health worsened, Grandpa escorted her to every possible place or doctor, in search of medical help. Among other places, I know he also took her to San Francisco, Salt Lake and El Paso. She began to suffer from severe edema (called dropsy in those days) caused by congestive heart failure which caused over-retention of fluids in the cells. Despite the faith and prayers offered on her behalf, it was her time, and she passed from mortality.                                                                                         


Josephine Cluff Jones Kimball died October 12, 1922, at the young age of 62 years 9 months, after 15 years 4 months of marriage to her Andrew. He passed away at the young age of only 65, less than 20 months after he lost her.


I’ll share five more short paragraphs from pages 108 and 109 of the book, SPENCER W. KIMBALL, regarding Nonnie’s death: “Andrew knew what affection his family desired, but he had himself known no father close at hand to set the pattern. His strong sense of duty, cultivated by long years spent as mission president and stake president in urging others on, dominated his life.


“Andrew and Josie were often separated by his travels. She suffered from leakage of the heart valves most of the time she was married to Andrew and became semi-invalid in about 1917. When others suggested there were stresses in the marriage Spencer rejected criticism, countering that Josie was a fine woman who had not had an easy life.


“On October 12, 1922, Josie died at sixty two, after fifteen years as Andrew’s wife and as a major figure in the community in her own right. The junior college and public schools marched their 640 pupils past her as she lay in state at the Kimball home.


“In a sketch in the Gila Valley Farmer Andrew characterized her: ‘Josephine Cluff Kimball was a highly intellectual person, possessing a wide range of information; she was a great reader and industriously kept herself up with the times. She was also scrupulously honest nor could she endure insincerity or dishonesty in anybody; she, like her God, hated a liar. She never owed a cent, always paying her way nor did she lose a moment in idle gossip or foolish conversation. She was exceptionally clean in her person, thoughts, and conversation, having no use for light or slighting or vulgar talk. She was exacting as she was willing to be exacted of. She loved dearly and was a true friend, but woe unto one who deceived her or was not loyal to her devoted friendship.’”   


Of her funeral, it is recorded: “Josephine, dressed in the finest hand-worked clothing her Relief Society friends of many years could stitch, was carried in W. C. Rawson’s hearse to the cemetery in Thatcher and laid in the gravel plot up above the river floodplain. They laid her with Olive, leaving space for Andrew between them, where he would lie two years later. Spencer, ever the assistant, helped his father with the funeral arrangements.”


I remember fondly of my mother’s attentiveness to Nonnie during her illness, so kind and caring in every way. Nonnie had beautiful hair that had not turned gray. Mama kept it brushed for her during the helpless stages of her illness. She asked Mama to be the one to prepare it after she died. I watched as Mama complied with her wish, preparing her hair for the burial. Grandmother Nonnie died four months after my 10th birthday and 10 days after my mother’s fortieth birthday.







SISTER JOSEPHINE CLUFF:  In the authority that I hold as a Patriarch and by your request I place my hands upon your head to bestow upon you a Patriarchal blessing in your maiden name and as God will reveal to me through the spirit of prophesy the words that I shall utter shall be true and faithful. 


Thou art a daughter whose spirit was sent forth in the fullness of time to tabernacle in the earth under a parentage that has given you honor as far as they are concerned. They have done the will of their Father in Heaven acknowledging and obeying the Eternal principle that will bring to them and their posterity an exaltation. Sister Josephine, thou art destined through that parentage and the blessings that have been promised in it with your posterity to enjoy celestial glory for no power will be permitted to stand between thee and your God for His eye has been upon thee in the spirit world and in the flesh.


Thou has met thy trials in the flesh which has better qualified thee to enjoy that which is awaiting you in the future. For I say unto you as one that has authority to say thou has passed thine greatest trials and in those trials thou has stood thine integrity and God will make plain to you the future course of your life. Thou has become an honorable mother in the earth, bearing in your pain and sorrow children that will be your representatives in the earth assisting you in every labor that you will have to perform for a work is before you sister Josephine to teach your children to lead them to the House of God, there assisting and endowing them from on high with those Eternal and cleansing principles which shall cause them to stand as jewels and be a comfort and a consolation to you while you travel down the hill of life for blessings are awaiting you through them in the honorable positions which they will be called to take in the earth and from this time forth thou shalt be comforted in thine heart for know this, God is thy friend and what you ask of him for your future and Eternal happiness, the way will be opened for you to obtain; now remember this dear sister, do not let thy faith fail thee. You shall yet be led by one that shall present you to your Heavenly Father as one that has won the crown of glory even that of a queen sanctified and celestialfied prepared to enjoy a full and complete exaltation rule over a posterity that shall forever be perpetuated and none shall be made more glorious in the constellations of heaven in this sphere than you shall be for lives eternal are thine.  Be thou blessed and prospered for I bless you as a Father and say that you shall be blessed in contemplating the glories of thy Father in Heaven, sealing those blessing of the first resurrection clothed upon with the robes of righteousness that you shall have. For thou art of the royal blood of Abraham standing near to the promise, and I seal you up to inherit principalities powers and dominions in a celestial glory which I do as a Patriarch having the authority to do so in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


(Typed from a copy of the original, by David R. Phillips, January 4, 1996)




Thatcher, September, 1904


A Patriarchal blessing of Sam Claridge on the head of Josephine Cluff, daughter of Benjamin Cluff and

Eliza Foster born June 15, 1860, Provo City, Utah.



Sister Josephine:  I place my hands upon your head and bless you in the name of Jesus Christ. My heart is full of blessings towards you because you are one of the Daughters of Zion. Your life has been a checkered one and you have been placed in very trying circumstances. Your expectations have been very high and at times they have been brought down very low. And notwithstanding all this, the Lord has had a particular watch-care over you and while at times you may have manifested weakness but the spirit of the Lord has never forsaken you and today you stand as a living monument of the mercy and kindness of your Heavenly Father unto you and the Lord is pleased with you because you have honored and respected every principle of the Gospel that has been made known unto you. At times you may have been apparently ended up that you have not known which path to take, but the Lord has heard your prayer and you have kept sacred the covenant that you made in the Temple of our God. For this the Lord will honor you and open up your way before you so that you will lose no blessing that pertains to the Daughter of Zion and as you pray to your Heavenly Father with all your heart your duties will be made plain unto you. You are called by our Heavenly Redeemer to preach the Gospel to a cold and unbelieving world. But your tongue will be unloosed and you will have power to portray the principles of the—great Latter-work in such before the people that many will listen to you with surprise and admiration and you will be the means of kindnesses? Which prejudice and of convincing the honest in heart to the truths of the Gospel and you will have friends raised up who will take you into their homes and treat you very kindly and those who scoff at you, their folly shall be expressed. I bless you in your body with the blessings of life and vitality that you may be enabled to endure all hardships and many inconveniences to which you may be exposed. His angels will be by your side and all fear will be removed from you. You are a descendent of Joseph and all the promises that have been made to his seed will be realized by you. You will have the privilege of going back to the land of Zion and assist in her redemption. You will see the power of God manifest in delivering His people. There is a great future before you my sister and there is a great future before you. Your children will be looked after. And the spirit of the Gospel will yet rest upon them and you will be a mother in Israel in very deed. All these blessings I seal upon you with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection clothed with glory, immortality, and eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  


(Transcribed from a copy of the original by Virginia Phillips Webster.  

Typed by David R. Phillips, January 4, 1996)



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